Enjoying the Full Golf Club Experience in Dubai
From roughly mid-November to mid-April, Dubai’s golf season is in full swing. You can enjoy a very pleasant day out on the links, the sun shining upon you as a gentle breeze keeps you cool (and makes you reconsider the trajectory of your swing). But even for the most seasoned players of the sport, a day out on the golf course is never just about the golf. And in a city as dynamic as Dubai, it involves so much more. With the DP World Tour Championship taking place this weekend at Jumeirah Golf Estates, it is the perfect time to explore just what the golfelifestyle is really like in Dubai.
Courses Designed by the Masters
Dubai is a haven for golfers and offers a variety of courses, most of which are within a few minutes’ drive from each other. The oldest, and still one of the most beloved, is the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club. It was the first grass golf course in the Middle East when it opened back in 1988, and takes its name from the Arabic word for a meeting or gathering place - an apt choice given that the golf course is the perfect venue to discuss both business and leisure. The course was designed by Karl Litten, a world-renowned golf course architect who is responsible for some of the best courses in the United States. He also designed the course at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, located on the banks of Dubai’s most historic waterway.
Several of the other courses in the city have been designed by icons of the sport from all over the globe. A prime example is the Wadi, the second of the courses at the Emirates Golf Club, which was later redesigned by English golfing legend Nick Faldo and renamed after him to the Faldo Course. The Faldo was the first, and for many years the only, floodlit course in Dubai, allowing players to enjoy a game day or night.
Right next door to the Emirates Golf Club is the Address Montgomerie, a club/resort concept by The Address hospitality group, featuring a course designed by Scottish professional golfer Colin Montgomerie, who holds the record for the longest consecutive winning streak at the European Tour.
Greg Norman, Australia’s most prolific golfer, designed two courses called Fire and Earth at Jumeirah Golf Estates, each of which offers a distinctive play experience. The Earth course is the better known of the two, as the host of the DP World Tour Championship that concludes the European Tour, while Fire uses varying topography to offer a true challenge. South Africa’s Ernie Els, a former World No.1, modeled the Els Course at Victory Heights after his favourite courses in the UK, where he racked up the majority of his victories. Arabian Ranches is home to a beautiful course that incorporates elements of the desert terrain, designed by American golf great Jack Nicklaus.
Some of the newer courses, such as the one at Dubai Hills Golf Club (recently voted World’s Best New Golf Course) and the Trump International Golf Course at Damac Hills, may not bear the stamp of a sporting celebrity, but they have been designed by some of the most renowned firms in the business. Emaar South, one of Dubai’s ongoing new community projects, will also have a golf course as a central feature, adding yet another destination for lovers of the sport.
Image Credit: Emirates Golf Club
Whether you are a novice or someone with several years of play under your belt, there is always room to improve your skills. And on that front, Dubai provides plenty of excellent options as well as every major club is accompanied by a performance training academy, many of which were set up by former players and coaches.
The Peter Cowen Golf Academy has three outposts at Emirates Golf Club, Jumeirah Golf Estates and Dubai Creek Golf Club, all managed by Dubai Golf. Ernie Els established his own performance academy at the club in Victory Heights, which was later turned into the Claude Harmon Performance Golf Academy. And international golf management group Troon, which manages many of the courses in the city, has its own academies in Dubai Hills, at the Meydan Golf Club and at Arabian Ranches.
Each academy offers a variety of class options for all skill levels, with separate classes for women and for children. State-of-the-art video and motion technology aids in analysing any individual golfer’s swing to determine exactly what aspect of their game they need to improve so that the lesson can be tailored toward doing so. You have the benefit of both indoor and outdoor golfing studios so you can practice at any time of year, plus general fitness facilities to stay in shape and supplement your game.
Image Credit: Duck Hook at Dubai Hills Estate & The Terrace at Damac Hills
At the heart of each golf club is the clubhouse, which is a one-stop wellness, fitness and leisure centre. Whether you are looking for a place to relax with a few friends after a game, to enjoy a gourmet meal with the family, or to get in a good workout, you have everything you need right at your fingertips.
We have previously covered a list of the best neighbourhood restaurants, which includes several eateries located within golf clubhouses. There is all-day dining at the Ranches Restaurant in Arabian Ranches, playful British fare at The Duck Hook in Dubai Hills Estate, and healthy Mediterranean dining courtesy of celebrity chef Silvena Rowe at Nassau in Jumeirah Golf Estates. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, however, as each clubhouse in the city has its own signature restaurant where you can tuck into delectable fare while enjoying incredible golf course views.
The clubhouse also doubles as an event space. Most clubs let you book corporate golfing events, and some courses offer the further option to host conferences at the clubhouse, and even parties and weddings.
If you are looking for a true five-star experience, then there is the Address Montgomerie, which combines the above with the award-winning hospitality of the Address brand and includes a range of personalised resort services.
Dubai is one of the world’s major golfing destinations for sporting professionals. One of the most significant events in the city’s golf season is the DP World Tour Championship, which is part of the last leg of the European Tour and is hosted every winter on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. You get an entire weekend of fantastic golf, along with dining and entertainment options located around the course. Other key events include the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Omega Dubai Ladies Classic, the Dubai Open, and a variety of local tournaments.
An Experience That’s Above Par
Golf plays a major role in the history of Dubai and continues to be an integral part of the city’s future given its prime position at the centre of so many residential communities. It doesn’t matter how good your game is, the city has plenty to offer for an incredible golfing experience, where playing on the links is only half the fun.